Quickly exit this site by pressing the Escape key Leave this site
This site is a beta, which means it's a work in progress and we'll be adding more to it over the next few weeks. Your feedback helps us make things better, so please let us know what you think.
People in Northamptonshire lost £1.1million to romance fraud in 2020 with an average loss of £11,500 per victim.
Romance fraud, or dating fraud, occurs when you think you’ve met the perfect partner online but they are using a fake profile to form a relationship with you. They gain your trust over a number of weeks or months and have you believe you are in a loving and caring relationship. However, the criminal’s end goal is only ever to get your money or personal information.
Fraudsters spend a lot of time, months in many cases, to build up a relationship and get the victim to trust them. 57% of all victims are aged between 40-60 and all manner of websites and apps are targeted including Facebook, Instagram, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Plenty of Fish, Tinder and Match.
Already in 2021, figures show a 20% increase year on year, and police officers are aware that this is just the tip of the iceberg as many victims do not report the crime due to embarrassment.
Confessions of a fraudster (from the Action Fraud website) “People like to live in fairy tales, they say it won’t happen to me. I make sure all my conversations are bespoke. I will show insecurity myself about trusting people and this helps allude to them that I’m genuine.”
PC Neil Mackenzie, said: Fraudsters often purport to be a professional person, a doctor, or in the military overseas.
“Once the fraudsters are confident that you have enough sympathy and desire for them, they will tell you about a problem they are experiencing and ask you to help out by sending money. For example, they’ve arranged to visit you but need money to pay travel or visa costs, or they’ve paid for a plane ticket which is then stolen.
“It could also be that a family member or someone else they are responsible for is ill and they need money for medical treatment.
“Once you send them money, the fraudsters will keep coming back with more reasons to send them money, or ask you to use your bank account to transfer money for them - this is money laundering.”
Money will be requested by the fraudsters in all manner of ways including cash, bank transfer or cryptocurrency.
PC Mackenzie, added: “The financial loss is difficult to overcome however it’s the emotional impact on victims that can be devastating as they end up loving the person who has scammed them. We want to do all we can to raise awareness of this heartless crime to prevent people from falling for it.”
Tell-tale signs your online date may be a fraudster:
Don’t let your heart rule your head
If you think you have been a victim of fraud you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre by calling 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.